How to Organize Your Kids as Holiday Helpers in the Kitchen
My kids like to help prepare big special occasion meals and desserts. I’ve created a method of organizing my kids as holiday helpers in the kitchen but also cut down on the chaos of having everyone in the kitchen at once.
This plan worked perfectly for me at Thanksgiving and I’m planning to continue this plan for, not only Christmas dinner, but also for preparing for our holiday party as well as making Christmas cookies and other desserts.
The first thing you should do is make a list of all of the things that you need to prepare for the holiday meal or your big kitchen event. Once you’ve made a list of all of your items, decide what kinds of things your holiday helpers can assist you with. Those dishes and desserts will be put on your sign-up sheet. I just listed them on a sheet of notebook paper. This sign-up sheet is going to be used to allow each of your children their own time to work with you one-on-one to prepare the item they chose. I let my kids take turns signing up back and forth so that one person does not sign up for all of the things that the other child wants to help with. One big goal for me was to cut down on arguing between my girls, taking turns helps a lot.
Next, number the list in the order that the items are going to be made. This way my holiday helpers know when it is their turn to work with me on a dish. This also ensures that they signed up for dishes they want to help with not, just the ones that are first to be made. If possible, I try to make sure that I can alternate back and forth between the things my kids signed up for, so that I don’t have large spans of time with only one kid having a chance to be in the kitchen. This also helps my kids not lose interest in helping because their time in the kitchen is spaced out..
As I get underway in our meal preparation, once one dish is finished and baking or chilling. I start to transition to the next dish by cleaning up, rinsing or washing utensils, etc. Whomever is helping me next has the job of getting out the ingredients that we will need next. You can call out these ingredients to your child as they get them or you can create a list that they can use to fetch the items you will need. This was helpful because it allowed me to clean up our space which meant that the kitchen was not a total disaster after so many dishes and desserts were prepared. With this type of process, once we were completely done preparing all of our dishes and desserts, the kitchen was very easy to straighten up at the end.
My kids loved this plan. They had a sense of accomplishment and were very proud to tell their father all of the dishes that they helped make as my holiday helpers. I also got to spend some quality one-on-one time with them, which is often difficult when you have more than one child. They got special “just me and mommy” time. A huge benefit was because both children were not in the kitchen helping at once, it cut down a lot on any arguing and fighting that might happen as each kid wants to help do the same things as the other, if we were all working together at once. I also found that after preparing a huge meal, I was not exhausted from doing everything myself and having to regulate fights between siblings; that was a perk I was not expecting.
If this is something you want to try out, just follow these steps.
- Make a list of all the dishes or desserts that your kids can help you make
- Have your kids sign up for which items they would like to help you create. (I recommend taking turns with the sign up)
- Number your list so that the kids know i what order you’re preparing the items They will know when they’re turn is coming. If possible, try to alternate which children are helping you so that we don’t have large spans of time of just one person in the kitchen.
- Use your children to help in transitioning from one dish or dessert to the other by preparing and pulling out ingredients as you straighten up from the previous dish.
I hope this idea helps you organize all of your Holiday Helpers and you have some good quality one-on-one time with those little ones.
What kinds of things do your kids enjoy doing in the kitchen with you? Do you have any great ways of helping your kids be more of a help to you while you are preparing big meals? Drop a comment and let us know.
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